Oct. 9, 2014
By Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word
Life is better for Charles Mitchell now that he has been able to call off his “shaky” attempts at self-hypnosis.
Georgia Tech’s junior power forward transferred to The Flats last spring from Maryland, but didn’t know until a couple weeks ago
when he’d be able to play for the Yellow Jackets.
When head coach Brian Gregory told him that the NCAA had ruled that Mitchell will not have to sit out a season after transferring from Maryland, “It was a celebration just to know that I have an opportunity to compete right away,” Mitchell recalled. “I was very excited, emotional about the opportunity.”
But man, waiting for the word was like living in an altered state.
Mitchell waited to hear whether the governing body of college sports would grant his request for a waiver of the rule that requires most transfers to spend a year on the sidelines after changing schools.
The 6-foot-8, 269-pound former Wheeler High standout said he fit well enough as a Terrapin, yet he longed to return to his home of metro Atlanta to be closer to his mother and grandmother, Harriett and Ella Mitchell.
His grandmother was ill a while ago, and although she’s improved, Mitchell contends that his family needs him. The family wasn’t whole without big Chuck.
That’s what he told the NCAA, and as he waited all summer and into early autumn for a decision, he tried to convince himself all would be OK no matter the ruling.
“To be honest, I tried not to think about it. I tried to take every day to be thankful for basketball and to look at being at Georgia Tech as an opportunity and a privilege,” he said.
“I tried not to put a lot of stress on myself thinking about it because I knew it would affect me in the class room or on the court. At the same time, knowing it was there, I was a little shaky.”
The transfers to Tech of Mitchell and former Ole Miss big man Demarco Cox give Gregory the option of going truly big. They’re like a fleet, as in aircraft carriers. Both young men are as wide as any players in the Tech program in years.
The Jackets figure to be more stout up front.
“We definitely hope so, in particular with DeMarco and Charles,” Gregory explained. “They do bring a much greater physicality than what we’ve had. That should help us in rebounding, points in the paint and anchoring around the basket.
“It will be different than maybe [departed center] Daniel Miller because he was more of a shot-blocking defender, and rotating for blocks. We need to be more full-body help . . . picking up charges, walling off and things like that.”
Mitchell averaged 6.0 points, and 5.8 rebounds in 70 games for Maryland. As a freshman, his rebounding rate of 13.7 per 40 minutes led the ACC, and as a sophomore his rebounding rate of 15.4 percent ranked No. 12 nationally according to KenPom.
Gregory passed the good word onto Mitchell on Friday, Sept. 26. Now he can concentrate on walling off against opponents.
“I’m glad that I got the waiver, and I can help Georgia Tech right away,” he said. “I was very excited, emotional about the opportunity. Coach told me before one of the team workouts and then he announced it to the whole team.
“I was pretty excited. It made my day, made my year. My team was grateful, thankful. Everybody was happy to see that. It was a good time.”